ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President Arif Alvi on Monday complained of “discomfort” as lawmakers voted Shehbaz Sharif as the new prime minister of the South Asian country.
Sharif’s election as the prime minister came after the weekend ouster of Imran Khan who was dismissed Sunday after losing a no-confidence vote, paving the way for an unlikely alliance.
Sharif immediately announced a raft of populist measures, including a new minimum wage of Rs25,000 (around $135), pay rises for civil servants, and development projects in rural areas.
Sharif, leader of the centrist Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party, was the only candidate for premier after Khan loyalist Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the former foreign minister, withdrew his candidacy and resigned his seat along with the rest of the lawmakers from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
President Alvi, another Khan loyalist, went on a leave ahead of the oath-taking of the new prime minister, which is expected later tonight.
“President Dr. Arif Alvi has complained of discomfort,” read a tweet on his official account. “The physician has examined him thoroughly and has advised him rest for a few days.”
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani will administer oath to Sharif, in the absence of Alvi, local media reported.
The oath-taking will be followed by discussions between the new ruling alliance for the formation of the cabinet.
Sharif, the younger brother of three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, emerged as the leader of a united opposition to topple Khan, a former cricket star who claims the United States was behind his downfall. Washington has denied the allegation.
No elected prime minister has completed a full term in Pakistan since its independence from Britain in 1947, though Khan is the first to be removed by a no-confidence vote.
The military has ruled the country for almost half its nearly 75-year history. It viewed Khan and his conservative agenda favorably when he won election in 2018.
That support waned after a falling-out over the appointment of a military intelligence chief and economic troubles.
Khan remains defiant following his defeat in parliament.
Thousands of his supporters in several cities held protests against his ouster that went on until Monday’s early hours.